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8 Days Umbwe Route: Mount Kilimanjaro Climb
The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers
and the Western Breach. It is probably the most scenic, non-technical
route on Kilimanjaro. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the
relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are
plentiful. Fewer people, pristine forest and shorter walking distances
make it a great option for fit hikers. Add to your experience -
OVERNIGHT IN THE CRATER!! Be one of a few fortunate people to spend a
night in Africa's largest volcano. This option is highly recommended, as
this will be the only opportunity to get close to the beautiful and
fascinating glaciers of Kilimanjaro and to be able to visit the ash pit.
Day 1: Arrival - Arusha
On arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, met and assisted. Transfer to SG Resort for an overnight rest on bed and breakfast in readiness for the next day's hit to Kilimanjaro.
Day 2: Umbwe Gate (1800m) - Bivouac (first) camp (2940m)
Hiking time: 5 hours | Habitat: Montane forest
After breakfast you will be driven to the Umbwe Gate at 1800m, passing through villages with coffee and banana plantations. On arrival at the Parks Gate your guide and porters will meet you. Sign the register before you enter the park for your first step to accomplishing a life-long dream. The air is thick with moisture and the path is usually muddy. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers some spectacular views of deep gorges and if you are lucky, glimpses of Kilimanjaro towering above you in the distance. The camp is perched between huge trees and thick undergrowth.
Day 3: Bivouac (first) camp (2940m) - Barranco camp (3950m)
Hiking time: 6 hours | Habitat: Montane forest & Moorlands
Shortly after leaving the camp, the forest starts thinning and is replaced by rockier terrain, sparser undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees. The path continues along a narrow, but spectacular ridge. As you gain higher altitude, catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro rising majestically ahead of you - etched against the blue sky. The path flattens as you approach Barranco Valley. From the Umbwe ridge the route descends slightly to the Barranco camp. The camp is situated in the valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while your dinner is being prepared.
Day 4: Barranco camp (3950m) - Lava Tower (4630m) - Arrow Glacier Camp (4800m)
Habitat: Moorland/Semi desert
After breakfast you will start your hike towards Lava Tower, a famous landmark on Kilimanjaro. The path is steep and rocky, with views of Mt. Meru, Kilimanjaro's little sister, punching her peak through the clouds. From Lava Tower you turn towards the Western Breach, a steep climb to Arrow Glacier camp (4800m). This is taxing and symptoms of altitude sickness might become noticeable. The campsite is spectacular. Vegetation has now all but disappeared, leaving only rock and scree in varying shades of brown and black. The campsite is very cold and you need to be prepared.
Day 5: Arrow Glacier (4800m) - Crater (5700m)
Hiking time: 5 hours | Distance: About 15 km's | Habitat: Semi desert/ Snowfields
From the Arrow Glacier camp steep scree and rocky outcrops requiring a scramble lead up the Western Breach to the crater floor (5700m). This day will be the toughest challenge by far. After snowfalls the route can become icy and in these conditions an ice axe or ski stick may be required. When reaching the crater rim, you will be astonished by the view of snow and glaciers. Visible to you left is the Northern Ice fields of Kilimanjaro with the Furtwangler Glacier in front of you. Walk past this glacier to the Crater camp, situated at the crater rim. If time permits, you can climb to the Ash Pit (1 ½ hour). The Ash Pit is 340m across, 120m deep and is one of the most perfect-formed examples in the world. The campsite is very cold as snow might occur. Be one of a fortunate few to spend a night in the inner crater of Kilimanjaro.
Day 6: SUMMIT ATTEMPT, Crater (5700m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Mweka (3100m)
Hiking time: 2 hours to reach Uhuru Peak | 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka | Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will rise around 04:00, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the early morning darkness. From the crater floor you will probably encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. Time spent on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your live. The walk to Barafu camp from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest, before heading down to Millennium camp (3100m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be provided as well as drinking water.
Day 7: Mweka camp (3100m) - Mweka Gate (1980m)
Hiking time: 3 hours | Distance: About 15 km's | Habitat: Forest
After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a 5-hour, scenic hike back to the Park gate. At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! You will then drive back to Arusha for a long overdue hot shower and celebrations!! Overnight at a hotel
NOTE: The itinerary may change at any time due to weather or safety conditions. Hiking times and distances are estimated only, but have been calculated to give the hiker a comfortable pace throughout the hike. The above itinerary is a guide only and extra days can be added according to your preferences. With the above route you can summit via Barafu camp or via Arrow Glacier.
Day 8: Departure
Transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport for your flight back home or continue with your safari schedule. End of services. B
Tour Price: US$ 1,490 per person sharing.
Tour price includes:
-Transfer to and from the base of the mountain
-Umbwe route trek as itinerary depicts
-Full board accommodation whilst on the trek.
- 3 Meals per day
-Accommodations at Arusha hotel 2 nights and huts on the mountain as per the itinerary
-All park entrance fees to include government taxes
-Service of an English speaking professional Mountain guide on the mountain, porters and skilled cook
-All services begin and end at Kilimanjaro Airport as per the itinerary
-Treated water on the trek
-Return airport transfers from/to Kilimanjaro Airport
-Tips, laundry, sleeping bags, drinks and climbing gears
-Medical evacuation, US$ 30 per person value
-International flights and taxes
-Items of a personal nature and any other extras not detailed in the above itinerary.
Contact us on email@example.com
"Kili", as it is fondly called by those who have scaled it, towers 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) above the plains of Tanzania. It is the world's tallest walkable mountain and therefore one of the most popular adventure treks offered by specialist trekking companies. First conquered by Hans Meyer in 1889, the Mount Kilimanjaro trek demands a good level of fitness together with strong determination and awareness of the dangers of altitude sickness, which prevents many people from reaching their goal.
Routes and Best Times to Climb Kilimanjaro
-Easiest options are the Marangu route and the Rongai route. The first is the most popular walking route up Kilimanjaro as it offers accommodation in huts rather than camping in tents.
- Harder options include the Machame, Shira, Umbwe and Limosho routes where scrambling is involved on several sections. All these longer trails require camping.
- When choosing a route, check the number of days trekking involved. A minimum of 6 days is advisable to include an extra acclimatisation day half way through the trek.
- Best times for Kilimanjaro trekking are January-March and Sept-October. Weather is more settled in the 753 square kilometre Kilimanjaro National Park in these high season months and the chance of summiting therefore much greater.
What to Expect when Climbing Kilimanjaro
- Experience four different ecosystems whilst ascending the mountain from vegetal rain forest and moorland heather on the lower levels to remote alpine desert and arctic glacier en route to the peak.
-Adopt the Swahili mantra "pole pole" – slowly, slowly – and stick to it! Taking things slowly whilst drinking plenty of water (4-5 litres per day) maximises chances of reaching Uhuru peak, the highest point on the mountain.
- Expect an early start on summit day. Most tours begin the "day" around midnight when the scree on "Kili" is still frozen and therefore much easier to ascend. Guides will move at an excruciatingly slow pace, toe to heel, toe to heel. This is totally necessary to ascend the steepest part of the mountain without succumbing to altitude sickness.
- It is common to experience slight nausea and a headache at heights above 10,000 feet but anyone experiencing extreme nausea, vomiting, dizziness, severe headaches, pins and needles and swelling of the limbs should descend immediately.
-Complete elation when reaching the summit and gazing at the majestic view below.
- A long walk or run down the scree slopes before descending to a lower camp to recover from the most gruelling day of the hike.
Choose the correct route, acclimatise well over several days and approach Kilimanjaro with respect and a strong "can do" attitude to make it to the top of the roof of Africa.
Best time to climb Kilimanjaro
The best time to climb Mt.Kilimanjaro is in January, February, or September. January and February in Kilimanjaro are known for being warm and clear. There is relatively little rainfall during these months, which makes them an ideal time of year to climb.
Throughout the rest of the year one can still climb Kilimanjaro, but conditions are not as good. April and May can also be clear and somewhat warm, but often see heavy rain and snowfall. This is the rainiest season of the year on Kilimanjaro.
From mid-May to August, the weather in Kilimanjaro gets much colder.
In addition to January and February, September is the other best time to climb Kilimanjaro. While September tends to be cooler than the first two months of the year, there is still good visibility.
. ALTITUDE AND ACCLIMATIZATION
Altitudes are generally defined as follows:-
o High altitude 2,400m - 4,200m
o Very high altitude 4,200m - 5,400m
o Extreme high altitude above 5,400m (Uhuru peak is 5,895m)During the trek it is likely that all climbers will experience at least some form of mild altitude sickness. It is caused by the failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to the reduced level of oxygen in the air at an increased altitude. There are many different symptoms but the most common are headaches, light-headedness, nausea, loss of appetite, tingling in the extremities (toes, fingers) and a mild swell of ankles and fingers. These mild forms are not serious and will normally disappear within 48 hours.
OTHER HEALTH TIPS:
All contact lens wearers should take care to remove the lenses at night, as the eye needs to absorb oxygen from the atmosphere. The rarefied conditions of altitude reduce oxygen levels and in extreme cases a Corneal Oedema can develop.
In the event of an emergency on the mountain the rescue team plus one of the assistant guides will descend with the casualty to the park gate. At the gate the casualty will be taken care and the necessary arrangements will be done.
Cameras whether Video or film, need to be protected against the severe cold weather either in warm pouch or the interior pockets of your clothing. Do not keep in your backpack at higher elevations. A selection of lenses will aid the final results although weight and bulk will obviously influence your selection. A polarized or neutral density filter is recommended, as is slide film rather than print. Bring your own film as it can be hard to find and expensive in Tanzania. For digital equipment, check with the manufacturer's specifications for temperature range (especially battery life), water tightness and general hardiness.
Mountain Kilimanjaro climbing gear packing list
TREKKING BOOTS -Not plastic. Sturdy, waterproof, well broken in and high enough to support ankle. Wear them on plane in case luggage goes missing
SOCKS -3 thermal and some regular. Some wear a thin pair under a thick pair, rinse the thin pair at night and peg them to their pack to dry the next day
TRAINERS- For round camp
TREKKING TROUSERS - Not cotton or jeans. Fleece lined trousers are a good choice
WATERPROOF TROUSERS - A light pair that can be worn on their own or pulled over your trekking trousers is best
THERMAL UNDERWEAR -1 pair of synthetic long john bottoms and 1 or 2 tops
T-SHIRTS/SHIRTS - Not cotton but synthetic preferably with wicking properties
FLEECES- Absolutely essential. We recommend 2 light and 1 heavy fleece. Keeping warm on the mountain is about wearing lots of thin layers that can be pealed off as you get warm or put on as you cool down. Make sure fleeces all fit comfortably over each other
WATER PROOF JACKET - Gore-Tex is best. Try it on over your fleeces 1st
GLOVES - Fleece-lined is good, mittens over a thin thermal pair is best but not essential. A thinner pair for round camp is also a good idea.
SUNHAT - A wide-brimmed one is best. Try and get one that covers the back of your neck to protect against sunburn
SUNGLASSES - Must protect against U.V.
SLEEPING BAG - 3-season or 2-season with liner. Closed-cell sleeping mat provided
LARGE BAG FOR YOUR GEAR - The porters will carry this. Not one with a frame, the porters will carry it on their heads and it makes their job harder
DAY PACK - Making sure you're comfortable walking long distances with it
TRAVEL BAG - For gear you don't want on Kili. Kept safe until your return
WATER BOTTLES - Thermally protected, enough for 3-4 litres
WATER PURIFIERS - Iodine is best but try it for taste at home first (flavoured powder helps). We boil all water on the mountain but better safe than sorry
HEADLAMP - Bring spare batteries and a spare bulb
SUNSCREEN/LIPSCREEN . TOILET PAPER
PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS - Towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, wipes and alcohol-based hand disinfectant are useful. Soap & hot water is provided daily.
PERSONAL MEDICAL KIT - Antiseptic cream, plasters, knee supports, moleskin or compeed, Ibruprofen/Aspirin/Paracetamol etc, Imodium, rehydrating powder, throat sweets and insect repellent can all come in useful
TREKKING POLES – Very useful on the descent
CAMERA - Spare film/memory cards/batteries. A UV filter is needed for SLRs
PLASTIC BAG – For wet clothes.
CELL PHONE/SPARE BATTERIES - Check with your network provider for coverage. You can get signal across a lot of the mountain but it is weak in places